Diet

Lower blood pressure with the DASH diet

Millions of French people suffer from high blood pressure which is the main cause of heart disease. And to lower it, taking medication is very often unavoidable, which can result in unwanted side effects. But in recent years, many scientific studies have shown a strong link between diet and blood pressure.

So, it turns out that it can be reduced naturally by a diet specially designed for this problem: the DASH diet. Created in 1997, this nutritional method has been named the best diet of the year eight times. So how exactly does it work and what foods are allowed? Plus we’ll give you a seven-day eating plan!

What is the DASH diet and how does it work?

DASH diet what is blood pressure

Before going down to the essentials and showing you the benefits of this revolutionary method, it is first necessary to mention some general facts. As a bonus, translated into French, the acronym DASH stands for a dietetic approach to prevent high blood pressure.

But according to many recent studies, the benefits of the DASH diet extend far beyond! For example, it helps in weight loss while increasing life expectancy and is also intended for those who prefer to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Voted the best diet for 2018, the DASH method involves changing the way you eat by eliminating certain food groups. For your information, it is not a question of limiting yourself to a few days or weeks but quite simply of changing your eating habits in the long term.

high blood pressure DASH diet eliminate salt

The DASH diet favors salt and all salty products in general, animal and saturated fats, red meat, sugar, and of course alcohol. However, these foods are not completely prohibited – small amounts are allowed. But provided you are aiming to lose weight, the products mentioned above are strict to be avoided.

Lower your high blood pressure with the DASH diet

DASH diet to lower high blood pressure

The increase in cardiovascular disease worldwide is mainly due to improper diet. For example, the excessive consumption of salt, sugar, and animal products, is very often the cause of the appearance of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity. Giving up the foods mentioned above and giving preference to the nutrients recommended by the DASH diet contributes to the considerable reduction in blood pressure.

The DASH diet is not a substitute for medication!

DASH diet and high blood pressure medication

Although the DASH diet can lower blood pressure with a healthy approach, taking the medication first and foremost plays a major role. Take into consideration that this food method should not be considered as an alternative to medication. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.

Can you lose weight by following the DASH diet?

DASH diet high blood pressure weight loss

For overweight patients with hypertension, losing weight is the fastest and most effective way to lower blood pressure. Thus, the risk of heart attack and stroke is greatly reduced. So if you want to lose weight and maintain healthy blood pressure, a daily intake of 1500 calories or less is necessary.

DASH diet reduce high blood pressure advice information

If this seems like a difficult task to you, think again because the DASH diet plan is not at all complicated. One of the most important steps to remember is to swap salt for fresh herbs and/or possibly dry spices. These give the dishes a special flavor that completely masks the lack of salt.

On the animal fat side, replace them with vegetable oils such as olive and rapeseed oil. Also beware of hardened vegetable fats such as margarine, coconut, and palm fat. Containing a large amount of saturated fatty acids, they tend to increase blood pressure.

DASH diet lower blood pressure list of foods

In general, the DASH diet aims to reduce the amount of sodium which the daily intake should be limited to 1,500 mg for adults, according to the American Heart Association. When it comes to allowed foods, this dietary approach includes a large amount of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Here is a small list of recommended foods:

  • Fruits: You can eat apples, pears, peaches, berries as well as tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango. Keep in mind that citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit can interact with certain medications so it’s best to consult your doctor first.
  • Vegetables: Avoid frozen or canned vegetables that have added salt and buy those low in sodium. All vegetables are allowed.
  • Herbs to season dishes.
  • Whole grains: whole wheat bread, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, and oatmeal.
  • Beans and lentils.
  • Low-fat dairy products.
  • Foods are rich in protein.
  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Vegetal oils.
  • Seeds
  • Unsalted and unroasted nuts.

Can we drink alcohol and coffee?

DASH diet high blood pressure coffee and alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure causing many heart diseases. Experts, therefore, advise to considerably limit alcohol consumption or to stop it altogether. Regarding coffee, its influence on blood pressure, unfortunately, remains uncertain. However, research shows that caffeine is quite capable of increasing your pressure.

To note: If you already have high blood pressure or think caffeine affects your blood pressure, talk to your doctor.

Moreover, to further boost the reduction of your blood pressure, consider increasing your physical activities. Thus, the results of the DASH diet will be more effective.

After giving you all the general information about the DASH diet, let’s move on to the exemplary menu that you can find in the following paragraphs.

DASH diet: seven-day menu

DASH diet menu seven days Monday

Monday

Breakfast: 1 cup (90 gr) of oatmeal with 1 cup (240 ml) of skimmed milk, 1/2 cup (75 gr) of blueberries, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium apple and 1 cup (285 gr) of low-fat yogurt.

Lunch: tuna and mayonnaise sandwich: 2 slices of whole-grain bread, 1 tablespoon (15 gr) of mayonnaise, 1.5 cups (113 gr) of green salad, and 80 grams of tuna.

To taste: 1 medium banana.

Having dinner: 85 g of lean chicken breast cooked in 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil with 1/2 cup (75 g) of broccoli and carrots. Serve with 1190 brown rice.

DASH diet menu seven days Tuesday

Tuesday

Breakfast: 2 slices of whole wheat bread with 1 teaspoon (4.5 g) of margarine, 1 tablespoon (20 g) of jelly or jam, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of fresh orange juice, and 1 medium apple.

Snack: 1 medium banana.

Lunch: 85g of lean chicken breast with 2 cups (150g) of green salad, 45g of low-fat cheese, and 1 cup (190g) of brown rice.

To taste: 1/2 cup (30 gr) of canned peaches and 1 cup (285 gr) of low-fat yogurt.

Having dinner: 85 gr of salmon cooked in a teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil with 1 cup (300 gr) of boiled potatoes and 1.5 cups (225 gr) of boiled vegetables.

DASH diet menu seven days Wednesday

Wednesday

Breakfast: same as that of Monday.

Snack: 1 medium orange.

Lunch: 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 85g of lean turkey, 45g of low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup (38g) of green salad, and 1/2 cup (38g) of cherry tomatoes.

To taste: 4 whole-grain crackers with 45g of cottage cheese and 1/2 cup (75g) of canned pineapple.

Having dinner: 170g of cod fillet, 1 cup (200g) of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup (75g) of green peas, and 1/2 cup (75g) of broccoli.

DASH diet menu seven days Thursday

Thursday

Breakfast: 1 cup (90 gr) of oatmeal with 1 cup (240 ml) of skimmed milk and 1/2 cup (75 gr) of raspberries, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium banana.

Lunch: Salad consisting of 130 gr of grilled tuna, 1 boiled egg, 2 cups (152 gr) of green salad, 1/2 cup (38 gr) of cherry tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of low-fat vinaigrette.

To taste: 1/2 cup (30 gr) of canned pears and 1 cup (285 gr) of low-fat yogurt.

Having dinner: 85 gr of pork tenderloin with 1 cup (150 gr) of mixed vegetables and 1 cup (190 gr) of brown rice.

DASH diet menu seven days Friday

Friday

Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, 2 slices of turkey bacon, 1/2 cup (38 gr) of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup (80 gr) of baked beans, and 2 slices of whole-wheat toast, 1 / 2 cups (120 mL) fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium apple.

Lunch: 2 slices of whole-wheat toast, 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, 45 gr of low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup (38 gr) of green salad, and 1/2 cup (38 gr) of tomatoes cherries.

To taste: 1 cup of fruit salad.

Having dinner: spaghetti and fish or meatballs prepared from 1 cup (190 gr) of spaghetti and 115 gr of ground turkey. Filling: 1/2 cup (75 gr) green peas.

DASH diet menu seven days Saturday

Saturday

Breakfast: 2 slices of whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons (40 g) of peanut butter, 1 medium banana, 2 tablespoons (16 g) of mixed seeds, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) ) fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium apple.

Lunch: 85 gr of grilled chicken, 1 cup (150 gr) of roasted vegetables, and 1 cup of couscous (190 gr).

To taste: 1/2 cup (30 gr) of mixed berries and 1 cup (285 gr) of low-fat yogurt.

Having dinner: 85g of pork steak and 150g of ratatouille, 1 cup (190g) of brown rice, 1/2 cup (40g) of lentils, and 45g of low-fat cheese.

Dessert: low-fat chocolate pudding.

DASH diet menu seven days Sunday

Sunday

Breakfast: 1 cup (90 gr) of oatmeal with 1 cup (240 ml) of skimmed milk, 1/2 cup (75 gr) of blueberries, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium pear.

Lunch: Chicken salad consisting of 85 g of lean chicken breast, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 2 cups (150 gr) of green salad, 1/2 cup (75 g) of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon (4 gr) of seeds, and 4 whole-grain crackers.

To taste: 1 banana and 1/2 cup (70 gr) almonds.

Having dinner: 85g of roast beef, 1 cup (150g) of boiled potatoes, 1/2 cup (75g) of broccoli, and 1/2 cup (75g) of green peas.

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